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What Examples of Godliness!

Posted on March 22, 2017

God Saves Gentiles! Luke Has Good News!

A study of the NT book of Luke

by Pastor Frank Rice

Luke 2:21-40

Mentoring has become big business in our culture. People (especially children) are encouraged to find someone whom they can copy so they can be successful in whatever endeavor they may pursue. That can lead to positive behavior and lifestyle or to a negative, destructive one. Luke presents several examples of healthy Jewish piety, perhaps to offset imminent Jewish enmity! Two “parents” and two “old folks” begin to recognize who Jesus really is. He is the focus of attention!


 I. The “Parents” of the Savior Display Faithfulness (Vv. 21-24)!

      After eight days the Savior’s parents do what they were told to do (v. 21). [Although not His biological father; “Joseph was the adopted and legal father of Jesus.” (Stein)]

  1. The parents followed the Lord’s command through Abraham and had their Son circumcised (v. 21a; Gen 17:11-12). “Jesus’ circumcision reveals the solidarity of God’s Son with His people, namely, that He was born under the law.” (Stein)
  2. They followed the pre-conception directions of the angel Gabriel and named their Son Jesus (v. 21b).


      After forty days the Savior’s parents continue to do what they were told to do (vv. 22-24)! (Faithfulness=prolonged obedience!]

  1. They follow the laws of purification for the mother as set down by Moses (vv. 22a; Lev 12:2-6). Joseph supported his beloved wife. (This is her first child; she is so young!)
  2. They copy the practice of presenting their firstborn to the Lord (not the priest) in the temple (vv. 22b-23; Ex 13:1-2).
  3. They copy the godly example of OT believers by dedicating their firstborn son to the Lord (v. 24; 1 Sam 1-2).


II. The Epitome of Manly Devotion Honors Jesus (Vv. 25-35)!

      The epitome of manly devotion is described (vv. 25-28)!

  1. There just happened to be a man in the holy city who is described in terms similar to a previous pair (v. 25a, 1:6)! They are righteous & blameless; he is holy & devout.
  2. BTW, The Spirit’s prompting guided Simeon to the temple. “God is responsible for this meeting.” (Bock)
  3. This elderly man was eagerly anticipating (NT waiting) the Consolation of Israel, the God-promised Messiah (v. 25b). (Luke does not label him as a priest.)
  4. This man was marked out and enabled by the Holy Spirit for a special mission. The Holy Spirit had told him that he’d see death only after he’d seen the Lord’s Messiah (vv. 25c-26).
  5. This Spirit-led man happened to intercept the “holy family” as they were entering the temple in obedience to the Lord. They even allowed him to hold their Child (vv. 27-28)!  


      The epitome of manly devotion praises God and thanks Him for all He’s done for his / His people (vv. 29-32).

  1. He exudes gratitude & humility by identifying himself merely as the Lord’s servant, awaiting His next command (v. 29a).
  2. He recognizes the Lord has kept His word, allowing him to see the Messiah, and hold Him in his arms (vv. 29b-30). He is now fully satisfied and ready to “be dismissed.”
  3. Simeon can leave this life in peace, because in Jesus he has seen the coming of God’s salvation.” He “is like the watcher who can leave an assigned post because the anticipated event has come.” (Bock)
  4. He proclaims that the Lord has planned and prepared salvation for all people to observe, including Gentiles (v. 31). As the apostle later declares, salvation preperation was not done in a corner! No excuses!
  5. He declares Messiah; “a light that comes to the nation. Light comes; revelation and glory result… the light is portrayed as coming to both Jews and Gentiles.” (v. 32; Bock).


      The presenters respond in amazement & the prophet continues his spell-binding message (vv. 33-35)! But there’s more!

  1. This couple had been “on a ride” the past year! How does someone process these encounters and information (v. 33)?
  2. Mary is told that her Son’s ministry will be divisive (v. 34a); unbelievers will fall, believers will rise “on the basis of their response of faith in Jesus.” (Bock)
  3. She is told that He will be a sign and a source of conflict and hostility (v. 34b). (Not exactly what you want for your son!)
  4. She’s told His ministry will expose the negative and hateful thoughts of many and be horrifically painful for her (v. 35). The thoughts of many hearts “should be understood negatively here because in its other uses in Luke (five times) and in the rest of the NT (eight times) it is always used pejoratively.” (Stein)


III. The Epitome of Womanly Devotion Honors Jesus (Vv. 36-38)!

      The epitome of womanly devotion is described (vv. 36-37). This dear 105 year-old lady, has had a hard life and had dedicated/ devoted the last 84 years to the Lord… prolonged obedience!


      The epitome of womanly devotion arrives just in time to witness the encounter (v. 38)! She poured out her gratitude and shared Jesus with everyone eagerly anticipating Messiah’s arrival.


IV. The Family Continues Their Walk of Obedience (Vv. 39-40)!

      When they (who?) had done what God expected of them, they simply returned to life as usual, well not exactly (v. 39)!

Luke did not mention a visit to Egypt as we find in Matt 2:13-22, but such a visit would have to be placed between Luke 2:38 and 2:39.” (Stein)


      This Child continues to make progress personally & spiritually (v. 40)! Wisdom controlled Him & God’s grace sustained Him!


On a human level, if you want your children to be something special you need be something special! Set the example and surround them with examples to follow!


On a spiritual level, the Son of God is the focus of attention for those who are godly.

He, though imperceptible, (He doesn’t say or do a thing in our text!)

must be the focus of your life.

Remember; faithfulness can be described as a prolonged obedience!